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Ritual Failure and Theological Innovation in Early Christianity
Author: Peter-Ben Smit
In Felix culpa: Ritual Failure and Theological Innovation in Early Christianity, Peter-Ben Smit argues that ritual developments were key to the development of early Christianity. Focusing on rituals that go wrong, he shows precisely how ritual infelicities are a catalyst for reflection upon ritual and their development in terms of their performance as well as the meaning attributed to them. Smit discusses texts from the Pauline epistles and the Gospel of Mark, and provides a chapter on Philo of Alexandria by way of contextualization in the Greco-Roman world. By stressing the importance of ritual, the present book invites a reconsideration of all too doctrinally focused approaches to early Christian communities and identities. It also highlights the embodied and performative character of what being in Christ amounted to two millennia ago.
Author: R. Hollis Gause
This commentary, written from a distinctively Pentecostal perspective, is primarily for pastors, lay persons and Bible students. It is based upon the best scholarship, written in popular language, and communicates the meaning of the text with minimal technical distractions. The authors offer a running exposition on the text and extended comments on matters of special signicance for Pentecostals. They acknowledge and interact with alternative interpretations of individual passages. This commentary also provides periodic opportunities for reflection upon and personal response to the biblical text.
Religion, Ethnicity, and the Shaping of Jesus-Oriented Jewishness in the Fourth Gospel
In John within Judaism, Wally V. Cirafesi offers a reading of the Gospel of John as an expression of the fluid and flexible nature of Jewish identity in Greco-Roman antiquity. While many have noted John’s general Jewishness, few have given it a seat at the ideologically congested table of ancient Jewish practice and belief.
By interrogating the concept of “Judaism” in relation to the complex categories of “religion” and “ethnicity,” Cirafesi argues that John negotiates Jewishness using strategies of ethnic identity formation paralleled in other Jewish sources from the Second Temple and early rabbinic periods. In this process of negotiation, including its use of “high christology” and critique of Ioudaioi, John coalesces with other expressions of ancient Jewish identity and, thus, can be read “within Judaism.”
Das vorliegende Buch bietet einen umfassenden Beitrag zum Bestreben neuro- und kognitionswissenschaftliche Erkenntnisse in die neutestamentliche Exegese zu integrieren. Für dieses Vorhaben eignen sich veränderte Bewusstseinszustände insbesondere, da sie auf allgemein menschlichen Strukturen des Gehirns beruhen und in sehr vielen Kulturen Teil der religiösen Praxis waren und sind. Anklänge daran finden sich auch in biblischen Visionserzählungen. Die Untersuchung bietet neben einer Einführung in die Philosophie des Geistes und notwendigen naturwissenschaftlichen Grundlagen sowie einer hermeneutischen Reflexion eine breit angelegte Darstellung der antiken Erfahrungen mit veränderten Bewusstseinszuständen anhand ihrer Induktionsrituale. Die gewonnenen Erkenntnisse werden dann auf die Verklärungserzählung angewendet.

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This book is a comprehensive contribution to the ongoing effort to integrate findings in cognitive science into New Testament studies. Altered states of consciousness are particularly suitable for this attempt as they are a common human property and a widespread religious practice. This study contains an introduction to the basics of philosophy of mind and cognitive studies as well as a hermeneutical reflection. The wide portrayal of ASCs in ancient religious contexts according to the type of induction rituals provides the historic context for the cognitive analysis of the Transfiguration narrative.
This volume provides a review of recent research in Philippi related to archaeology, demography, religion, the New Testament and early Christianity. Careful reading of texts, inscriptions, coins and other archaeological materials allow the reader to examine how religious practice in Philippi changed as the city moved from being a Hellenistic polis to a Roman colony to a center for Christian worship and pilgrimage. The essays raise questions about traditional understandings of material culture in Philippi, and come to conclusions that reflect more complicated and diverse views of the city and its inhabitants.
The Fables of Jesus in the Gospel of Luke introduces the world of the ancient fable to biblical scholarship and argues that Jesus’s parables in Luke’s gospel belong to the ancient fable tradition.
Jesus is regarded as the first figure in history to use the parable genre with any regularity—a remarkable historical curiosity that serves as the foundation for many assumptions in New Testament scholarship. The Fables of Jesus in the Gospel of Luke challenges this consensus, situating the parables within a literary context unknown to biblical scholarship: the ancient fable. After introducing the ancient fable, the “parables” of Jesus in Luke’s gospel are used as a testing ground to demon - strate that they are identical to first-century fables. This challenges many conven - tional assumptions about parables, Luke’s gospel, and the relationship of Jesus to the storytelling traditions of the Mediterranean world. This study offers multitudes of new parallels to the otherwise enigmatic parable tradition, opens an exciting new venue for comparative exploration, and lays a new foundation upon which to study the fables of Jesus.
This book investigates the various paraphrastic techniques employed by Nonnus of Panopolis (5th century AD) for his poetic version of the Gospel of John. The authors look at Nonnus’ Paraphrase, the only extant poetic Greek paraphrase of the New Testament, in the light of ancient rhetorical theory while also exploring its multi-faceted relationship with poetic tradition and the theological debates of its era. The study shows how interpretation, cardinal both in ancient literary criticism and in theology, is exploited in a poem that is exegetical both from a philological and a Christian point of view and adheres, at the same time, to the literary principles of Hellenistic times and late antiquity.
New Perspectives on Tradition and Transformation
Volume Editors: Albert Geljon and Nienke Vos
Based on the paradigmatic shift in both liturgical and ritual studies, this multidisciplinary volume presents a collection of case studies on rituals in the early Christian world. After a methodological discussion of the new paradigm, it shows how emblematic Christian rituals were influenced by their Greco-Roman and Jewish contexts, undergoing multiple transformations, while themselves affecting developments both within and outside Christianity. Notably, parallel traditions in Judaism and Islam are included in the discussion, highlighting the importance of ongoing reception history. Focusing on the dynamic character of rituals, the new perspectives on ritual traditions pursued here relate to the expanding source material, both textual and material, as well as the development of recent interdisciplinary approaches, including the cognitive science of religion.
Volume Editors: René Brouwer and Emmanuele Vimercati
This volume, edited by René Brouwer and Emmanuele Vimercati, deals with the debate about fate, providence and free will in the early Imperial age. This debate is rekindled in the 1st century CE during emperor Augustus’ rule and ends in the 3rd century CE with Plotinus and Origen, when the different positions in the debate were more or less fully developed. The book aims to show how in this period the notions of fate, providence and freedom were developed and debated, not only within and between the main philosophical schools, that is Stoicism, Aristotelianism, and Platonism, but also in the interaction with other, “religious” movements, here understood in the general sense of groups of people sharing beliefs in and worship of (a) superhuman controlling power(s), such as Gnosticism, Hermetism as well as Judaism and Christianity.
Author: Sheila Delany
In this first translation of Sylvain Maréchal’s Bible commentary, Sheila Delany offers an important document in the history of modern European secularization and rationalist Bible criticism. Editor of one of France’s best-known radical journals, Révolutions de Paris, and author in many genres—drama, poetry, journalism, treatise—Maréchal (1750-1803) embraced the revolutionary egalitarian ideas of François-Noël “Gracchus” Babeuf. As an atheist, he witnessed with dismay the advent of Napoleon and the post-revolutionary return of Catholic fervor. For and Against the Bible was his protest, his reminder of what the nation had endured and of what, at the opening of the nineteenth century, it might still accomplish. Delany’s introduction and annotated English translation will be of importance to all interested in Jewish or Christian Bible studies, history of Bible criticism, eighteenth century European rationalism, French atheism, modern European secularism.